By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
PROFESSOR Nkandu Luo has submitted to the Constitutional Court that the petition by Sishuwa Sishuwa and Alfred Kanda asking the court to declare her nomination to the office of Vice President on the ruling Patriotic Front ticket null and void is hopelessly out of time.
And UNIP running mate Mr John Harawa has asked the court to dismiss the petitions for being incompetent.
This is a matter where Dr Sishuwa and Mr Kanda, a lawyer, have petitioned the court to declare null and void the nomination of Prof Luo, Mutale Nalumango for UPND and 14 others because they did not comply with the provisions of article 100(I) and (j) of the constitution.
In a consolidated petition, the duo stated that the 16 did not pay nomination fees nor provide 100 registered voters from each province when filing their nomination.
But Prof Luo in her answer filed yesterday stated that no competent petition challenging the determination by the Returning Officer that her nomination as President Edgar Lungu’s running mate is valid or has been brought against the commission within the period prescribed by article 52(4) of the constitution and the decision of the Returning officer is therefore final.
She stated that the election fee required to be paid under article 100(1) (i) of the constitution must be prescribed in an Act of Parliament.
She contended that the Electoral Process Act, 2016 and the Electoral Process (General) Regulations, 2016 as amended by the Electoral Process (General) (amendment) Regulations 2021 do not prescribe any election fee to be paid on nomination of a running mate or Vice President.
She said she was supported by at least 100 registered voters from each province at the time of nomination but Regulation 11(3) of the Electoral Process (General) Regulations ,2016 did not require that these supporters subscribe to Form GEN 3 of the Electoral Process (General) Regulations, 2016 as amended by the Electoral Process (General) (amendment) Regulations, 2016 as amended by the Electoral Process (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 made pursuant to section 125 of the Electoral Process Act,2016.
“The Electoral Process (General) Regulations, 2016 were published as Statutory Instrument no.63 of 2016 and around 12th August 2016 whilst the Electoral Process (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 were published on 12 May 2021 and Article 67(3) of the constitution, which is specific to Statutory Instrument, provides that a challenge to the constitutionality of SI may only be brought within 14 days of the publication of the SI in the Gazette and no such challenge has been made to any specific provision of the said SI,” she stated.
“A challenge to the constitutionality of the Electoral Process (General) Regulations, 2016, specifically, Regulation 11(3) cannot be made at this late stage as the Petitioner is hopelessly out of time,” Prof Luo argued.
She stated that the petitions did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against her nomination as Vice President in the general elections.
Therefore her nomination is valid and was properly declared so by the Returning Officer, ECZ chairperson Justice Esau Chulu.
“These petitions are non-justifciable, incompetent, frivolous and vexatious and the respondent therefore prays that the petitions be dismissed and the Petitioners be ordered to pay costs of these petitions,” Prof Luo submitted.
And Mr Harawa who is the running mate to Bishop Trevor Mwamba, said he met all the qualifications in the Constitution and required by ECZ and that none of the disqualifications as stated by Dr Sishuwa and Mr Kanda applied to him.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, the 17th respondent in the matter submitted that a Vice Presidential candidate’s votes are not independent from the votes cast for the Presidential candidate .
On this basis, he contended that the vice presidential candidate is neither required to be separately supported by at least 100 supporters from each province nor pay separate nomination fee with that paid by the Presidential candidate.